Vacancies send a wrong signal

Source: The Hindu

Relevance: Civil Services and other important services are backbones of governance in India. Vacancies on the top-level posts will affect the quality of governance.

Synopsis: Leaving top posts in the government unoccupied, affects governance and is demoralizing for officers

Delays in the appointment of personnel to important posts affect governance

  • The vacancies in the Central government and the States in recent years have had a deleterious effect on governance.
  • The post of the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission was kept vacant until June this year. Even though the previous Chairman, retired in December 2020.
  • Similarly, the post of the Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) too was kept vacant until the recent appointment of Subodh Kumar Jaiswal. The post had been vacant since February.
  • The National Council of Educational Research and Training, which is largely responsible for planning the education policy of the country, is headless.
  • Of the 40 Central universities across the country, nearly half are without regular Vice-Chancellors.
  • Apart from vacancies, there are many examples of officers holding additional charge. For instance, Rakesh Asthana after his appointment as Director-General (DG) of the Border Security Force in August, continues to hold a charge of the NCB as DG. He assumed additional charge of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) from December 2019.
  • Similarly, Kuldeep Singh, DG of the Central Reserve Police Force, now also heads the National Investigation Agency.
  • Delays in promotions and appointments not only affect the organisations but also tend to demoralise the officials who await promotions after vacancies arise.

Alternative method suggested for the appointment of CEC

  • Recently, the Centre appointed Anup Chandra Pandey as the new Election Commissioner in June.
  • Meanwhile, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court.
  • ADR demands the appointment of Election Commissioners by a committee, as is done in the case of appointment of the Director of the CBI, and not by the Centre.
  • ADR has referred to the 255th Report of Law Commission that had recommended that Election Commissioners be appointed by a high-powered committee.
  • The high-powered committee headed by the PM has two members, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
  • However, the Opposition leader has a little say in the selection process. If the Prime Minister decides on a candidate and the CJI consents, the Opposition leader’s dissenting note carries no weight.
  • Therefore, there is a need, to expand the high-powered committee to include at least two more members of eminence with proven integrity for the selection process.
  • Preferably a retired police officer and a Chief Minister of a State governed by a party other than that of the party of the Prime Minister.
Print Friendly and PDF